Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a warning to consumers to avoid eating commercially produced and pre-packaged caramel apples for now. The warning was issued after officials tied the consumption of the caramel apples with an outbreak of Listeria that has hit 10 states so far, including Texas. So far, the outbreak has led to the deaths of at least five people and made at least 28 others sick, with 26 of them becoming sick enough to need hospitalization.
Officials at the CDC are working with the Food and Drug Administration and the health departments of those states affected so far, in order to further investigate the infections. Investigators are trying to determine the specific source of the contamination, and to determine which specific brands of caramel apples are linked to the outbreak.
So far, investigators have interviewed 18 people stricken by the current outbreak, and found that 15 of them had eaten commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before becoming sick. They are quick to note that they have found no correlation between the infections and the consumption of either fresh apples or caramel candies, and they still consider homemade caramel apples to be safe.
Out of the 28 people reportedly infected in this outbreak, nine of the illnesses occurred in pregnant women or newborn infants. Listeria is especially dangerous for pregnant women because they can pass the illness on to their baby. The death rate for newborns with Listeria infection is nearly 50 percent. During the current outbreak, three otherwise healthy children aged 5 to 15 contracted meningitis, which is a very invasive illness.
Listeria contamination can lead to Listeriosis, which can be a very dangerous illness. Among the symptoms of Listeria infection can include muscle aches, fever, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea. Left untreated, Listeria bacteria can spread to the nervous system, causing dizziness, confusion, convulsions and loss of balance. The CDC announcement asks that anyone who experiences these symptoms after eating a commercially-produced caramel apple to contact their health care provider for prompt antibiotic treatment. They are also advising anyone with a commercially produced caramel apple dispose of it immediately. They are also warning those who are unsure if their caramel apple was commercially produced dispose of it as a precautionary measure.
If you have a commercially produced caramel apple, you should probably dispose of it immediately, or return it to the store for a refund. If you ate one of these caramel apples, and you feel ill, seek medical help immediately. And if you or a loved one has become sick because of this or any other food product contaminated with Listeria, please contact the Texas Food Contamination Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible to protect your rights.